Before she could change her mind, Sabine threw herself against the wall of Gavin’s chest and hugged him tight. He seemed surprised at first, but then he wrapped his strong arms around her and pulled her close. “Thank you,” she whispered into his lapel.
It felt good to be in his arms, surrounded in his warmth and spicy cologne. Good to be appreciated for her work even when she hadn’t lifted a brush in two years. Good to have someone believe in her, even if it was the same man who let her walk away from him. She would be happy with his professional admiration if nothing else.
And yet, with her head pressed to his chest, she could hear his heart racing. His muscles were tense as he held her. He was either extremely uncomfortable hugging her or there was more than just admiration there.
Sabine lifted her head and looked up at him. Her breath caught in her throat as her eyes met his. They glittered with what could only be desire. His jaw was tight, but unlike last night, he wasn’t angry. He swallowed hard, the muscles in his throat working hard down the column of his neck. She recognized the signs in Gavin. She knew them well but thought she’d never see him look at her like that again.
The intensity of his gaze flipped a switch in her own body. As it had in the restaurant, heat pooled in her cheeks and then rushed through her veins to warm every inch of her. She couldn’t help it. There had been few things as exquisite in her life as being made love to by Gavin. It had come as a huge surprise considering how tightly buttoned-up he was, but there was no denying he knew just how to touch her. It was probably the worst thing she could do considering what was going on between them, but she wanted Gavin to touch her again.
He must have read it in her eyes because a moment later he dipped his head and brought his lips to hers. They were soft at first, molding to her mouth and drinking her in. Sabine gently pressed her hands against his chest, pushing up onto her toes to get closer to him.
His hands glided across her back, the heat of him penetrating through the fabric of her blouse and searing her skin. She wanted to feel those hands all over her body. It had been so long since someone had touched her that way. She didn’t want it to stop. Not ever.
Sabine was about to lean in. She wanted to wrap her arms around his neck and press her body tight against his. As if he sensed the move, Gavin started to retreat. She could feel him pulling away, the cool air rushing between them and bringing with it reality. She pulled away, too, wrapping her arms across her chest to ward off the chill and its evidence on her aching body.
Gavin looked down at her and cleared his throat. “I’d better go.”
Sabine nodded and moved slowly with him toward the door.
“Good night, Sabine,” he said in a hoarse whisper. He took a step back, straightening his suit coat, and then gripped the brass knob in his hand.
“Good night,” she whispered, bringing her fingers up to gently touch her lips. They were still tingling with his kiss as he vanished through her doorway. “Good night.”
“We have a date this afternoon. I mean a playdate. I mean, aw hell, I have no idea what’s going on,” Sabine lamented. She was folding a stack of shirts and paused with one clutched to her chest. “You know, a few days ago I was living my life like a criminal on the run, but I felt like I had a better grip on things.”
Adrienne smiled at her and turned to change the outfit on the mannequin by the wall. “It’s a big change,” she said. “But so far, it’s not a bad change, right?”
“That’s true. I guess that’s what worries me. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
The boutique was open, but the foot traffic usually didn’t pick up until closer to lunchtime on a Saturday. At the moment, Sabine and Adrienne were alone in the store and able to speak freely about the dramatic turn of events in her life. Normally, Sabine ran the shop alone until another employee, Jill, came in later in the day. Today, Adrienne came in as well to relieve Sabine so she could meet Gavin.
“I don’t think he’s going to steal Jared away from you, Sabine. It sounds like he’s been pretty reasonable so far.”
“I know,” she said, folding the last shirt and adding it to the neat display. “But he doesn’t have the DNA results back yet and won’t until Monday. If he was going to make a move, it wouldn’t be until he had the advantage. The Gavin I knew three years ago was...calculating and ruthless. He had absolutely no qualms about sitting back and waiting for the perfect moment to strike.”
“This isn’t a business deal and he’s not a cobra. You two have a child together. It’s different.” Adrienne pulled out a pin and fitted the top of the dress to the form.